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The “Kairos Palestine Document”: a call to make peace now

paixpetiteEnd the occupation of Palestinian territories and the boycott that is strangling the Palestinian economy, to reduce poverty in the population and remove the wall of separation that seals barriers between the two peoples, renegotiate with seriousness and clarity to build peace in the region… These are the main points of appeal signed and circulated in preparation for Christmas 2009 by a group of Christian leaders of various denominations including the Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, and the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna.

The document was entitled “The Kairos Palestine Document” because it insists on the “moment of grace”, the “kairos,” the “opportune time”, in which the question of the eternal conflict between the peoples the Holy Land can be reconsidered.

Thanks to the good will efforts of the international community, the region’s political leaders, and churches around the world, “peace is possible” and is the only hope for the future of the Holy Land. But it requires a real effort from everyone, not just “empty words” that for too long have been heard and have not change anything in the actual situation.

The signatories of the appeal complain that “occupation is a sin against God and humanity” and remember that one of the toughest problems is “the Israeli separation wall built on Palestinian land, the blockade of Gaza, Israeli settlements that arise on Palestinian land, the humiliations at military checkpoints, religious restrictions and controlled access to holy sites, the plight of refugees waiting for their right of return, the prisoners detained in Israel and the international community’s paralysis in the face of this tragedy.”

However, the text also says, “God created us to live in peace. Our land has a universal mission and the promise of the land has never been a political program, but rather a prelude to universal salvation.”

The Catholic community in the Holy Land, with Christmas just around the corner, is trying to improve the climate of interreligious relations and create opportunities for dialogue and reconciliation, on both a social and religious level. Recent episodes, such as some Israeli settlers who attacked a mosque in the West Bank have raised fears that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a political level, could degenerate into a “war of religion.”

However, “God can never be a source of violence and destruction,” the Christian leaders reaffirmed in the document.

 Source: Fides Agency